The Positive Policy Example of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway
By Andrew Scott
'Northern Lights outlines possible new policy approaches for Australia in a sound, scholarly fashion. Could it be that all we need is a politician with the vision, courage and eloquence to revive our egalitarian spirit and lead us beyond neoliberalism to social democracy?’ Jane Gleeson-White, Federal Gallery journal
‘a generous and careful piece of writing and a serious and careful attempt to promote a different direction for the ALP … Scott’s documentation and discussion is impressive and detailed. It is easy to read and nuanced to convey the Nordic context'. Howard Guille, Australian Options
'This brilliant book, written in a journalistic style, is one of the most engaging books on economic and social policy I have read. It is rare and positive for an academic writer to write in such an understandable way for a general audience'. Susan Cahill, Presenter and Producer, Talking Books, Newstalk FM Radio, Dublin. Listen online here
The nations of Scandinavia and Finland, or Nordic Europe, continue to provide living proof that economic prosperity can be combined with social equality and environmental responsibility. This book, written from an Australian perspective, explores previous outside policy interest in the Nordic nations and outlines some lessons which the English-speaking world, in particular, can learn now from the achievements of the four main Nordic European nations. In terms of income distribution these countries are still much more equal than Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Canada – and nearly twice as equal as the United States. Workforce participation rates are high in the Nordic nations but working hours remain within reasonable limits; enabling genuine work-life balance. Sweden has played a leading role in improving wellbeing, and lowering poverty, among children. Finland has achieved stunning success in schools since the 1990s. Denmark invests in comprehensive skills training as part of providing security, as well as flexibility, in people’s employment lives. Norway’s taxation approach ensures that natural resources are used sustainably for the entire nation’s long-term wealth. All of these achievements are relevant to the policy choices for the future which Australia, and other English-speaking countries, can now make.
About Andrew Scott
Dr Andrew Scott is Professor of Politics and Policy at Deakin University, Melbourne. He is the author of four previous books and numerous book chapters and articles on aspects of politics, policy and history; frequently involving international comparisons. For several years Andrew has been researching English-speaking nations’ past interest in – and achievable lessons which they can learn and apply today from – the policy achievements of the Nordic European nations.
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